EghtesadOnline: Iran’s southern Bushehr Province has exported 14,000 tons of farmed shrimp worth $70 million since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 21, 2019), according to Qasem Qaedi, an official with Bushehr Governorate.
Bushehr is Iran’s shrimp production hub, accounting for around 60% of the country’s total output, according to Financial Tribune.
A total of 21,767 tons of shrimp have been produced in Bushehr’s fish farms since the beginning of the current Iranian year, which shows a 5.36% decrease compared with the similar period of last year, IRNA reported.
This year’s harvest season for farmed shrimps has come to an end.
Soghra Ashraf, the deputy head of Bushehr Fisheries Bureau, said around 90% of the shrimps produced in the province are exported to China, Russia and the littoral states of Persian Gulf.
Around 23,200 tons of farmed shrimp were produced in Bushehr Province during the last Iranian year (March 2018-19).
According to Director General of Bushehr’s Fisheries Organization Abbas Ali Zendehboudi, some 90% of the output are exported.
Apart from farmed shrimp, Bushehr produces eels, squid and cutlass fish, which are mainly exported to China, Vietnam, Thailand, the UAE, Oman, Russia and Malaysia.
Farmed shrimp accounts for 55% of the shrimp produced globally. Most shrimp farms are in China, followed by Thailand, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Brazil, Ecuador and Bangladesh, which generate a substantial income in these developing countries.
China Opts for Iranian Shrimp Imports
China has temporarily banned the import of shrimps from Saudi Arabia. The ban has been followed by 40 shrimp exporters from Iran being granted market access, Undercurrent News reported in August.
The country imported 23,048 tons of shrimp from Saudi Arabia in the first six months of 2019, according to Chinese Customs Department.
The temporary ban was announced on Aug. 2 by China’s General Administration of Customs and applies to Saudi Arabia’s National Aquaculture Group (NAQUA).
NAQUA—Saudi Arabia's largest aquaculture company—was previously the only Saudi firm permitted to export to China.
Chinese industry publication Foodspath said Chinese customs detected white spot syndrome virus in a shipment of shrimp. Citing an industry source, it reported that Chinese Customs Department implemented the ban “to prevent the disease from entering China”.
The temporary ban was shortly followed by market access granted to several Iranian shrimp exporters.
Iran exports 30,000 tons of shrimp annually with China, its largest market.
Among exporters granted permission to sell fish products to the country is shrimp processor Daryazad Seafood Products.
According to its website, the firm is headquartered in Bushehr Province and produces raw and processed shrimp products.
Iranian veterinary authorities said China approved the exporters after they complied with Chinese regulations and standards. The updated Chinese list, including the firms, was published on Aug. 14.
In 2018, China imported no shrimp directly from Iran, official figures show.
Iranian exporters have relied on sending shrimp to China through Vietnam in the absence of an official export approval. Exporting through Vietnam has become more challenging, however, due to a crackdown in transshipment by Chinese authorities.
For NAQUA, the temporary ban counts as a blow, especially since orders rise in the month leading to the Chinese New Year (Jan. 25).
China's preference for head-on, shell-on shrimp allows the firm to keep labor costs low and remain competitive.
In January 2019, China imported 19,033 tons of shrimp from Saudi Arabia but just 306 tons in June, according to Chinese figures, indicating that NAQUA was gearing to supply the market for the Chinese New Year.
In the first six months of 2019, Saudi Arabia was China's third-largest shrimp supplier, with imports from the country worth $145 million.
With the transshipment route through Vietnam seemingly closed, the Iranian firm could face a challenge to find other markets if the ban is not lifted.